Today ended up being largely confined to a lengthy and very interesting conversation via translator with Georgian Times founder Malkhaz Gulashvili. We talked about a wide range of issues, but mostly about the war and regional politics. The discussion then moved into Malkhaz’s personal interest in Irish history and politics and his personal desire to see closer connections between Irish and Georgian people. I will be coming back to that discussion later.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the 11th century in Mtskheta was incredibly impressive. Its status as a world heritage site is well deserved. And fortunately for me on this occassion I was able to get photos and video from inside the church. The wikipedia page simply does not do it justice, but it does give some insight into the story I was told today about the architect of the cathedral having his hand cut off.
When entering I was forced to try on a traditional hat from the region:
Yes it does not suit me.
In order of how they took them here is a tour of the Cathedral.
This is one of the damaged interior walls:
The huge and spectacular image of Christ at the rear of the cathedral
As seen from the entrance:
An exterior detail:
As for the food, I tried out a variety of Georgian staples. I can’t even begin to translate their names, but here is a picture of the selection of food.
And here is a sample of the menu, for those of you interested in language. Georgian is an entirely distinct and unique language, and it is not the easiest to understand or read.
Well except on the right after the numbers is the Georgian word for Larri, the currency… which looks like this:
Tomorrow morning it is on to Gori with my guide, who knows much about the conflict given his first hand role as a captain in the Georgian army, and a veteran of the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan. My conversations so far (albeit frustrated by translation) with him, have been very interesting.